Up very early and follow Sash to the US Embassy where we can’t walk on the same side of the street (reminds me of the Lefortovo prison in Moscow in 1974 and this is not a good comparison). We have coffee nearby and now that I am sure I know where I am we roam around, collect Max and meet Sash midmorning for a tour of the embassy. It’s a hoot to follow him around as he flashes his badge and a bevy of local women ooh and ahh (he has 40 on-site Japanese mothers and older sisters evidently) who all think it is hilarious that Max looks just like him (Max! Max!) and they both look just like Detlev – clearly I am the interloper here. We head off to eat lunch at Nobu – the original although it has expanded all over the world. There is an interesting call-and-response thing that happens in restaurants where the hostess, waiters and chefs all announce your arrival and apparently cheer you on in your efforts to enjoy the beautiful presentation and very high prices and (in this case) very attentive service. (They bring me a separate chair for my pocketbook, as though it is a little dog seated next to me. I treat it accordingly and pat it from time to time.)
Our kids order the most expensive things on the menu and Detlev and I, to balance order something simple which turns out to be a gorgeous Bento box of mixed delicacies. I spend a good deal of time in the bathroom admiring the wallpaper, the singing toilet and the seat that lifts and lowers on command.
Sash returns to work and we head next door to the Musee Tomo and the small but exquisite exhibit of overglaze enameled porcelain by Imaizumi Imaemon that gives new meaning to subtle and delicate. I realize immediately how little I know and how many lifetimes it would take to understand a culture thousands of years old, where the nuance of a chrysanthemum petal need not be explained.
Back outside where it is getting very cold and walk back to the compound. Detlev takes a nap and Max and I walk to Raponggi where we visit various pharmacies looking for a miracle hangover pill made of calves liver.
That evening – steeling ourselves against a wall of jet lag – we head to mid-town tower to see the Xmas decorations (they have all been taken down and it’s only Dec 26) and try various restaurants where we can’t get in. We finally end up at a small ramen place and go through the call and response deal, walk past the guys slurping at the counter and sit in the back room where we get large bowls of noodles and soup and squeeze in fresh garlic and slurp away. We take a walk past the Nigerian touts offering sex shows and head back to crash.